For those of you who are writers, or considering writing, I cordially present: my year in scribbling. For the rest of you, this will probably be deadly dull, and I advise finding a more interesting website, post haste.
Fresh back from a fab Big Sur Workshop with ABLit. Inspired. Instructed. I eradicate thousands of words from WIP thanks to great advice from Jenn Rofe and Mary Kole. I am introduced to several of my bad author-ly habits, and I send them packing. Yay! I realize I don’t know where my WIP should begin. *Is annoyed* I join kindleboards and lurk watch the Writer’s Cafe with interest.
WIP is looking thin and fit thanks to December/January weight loss program. I still fear I haven’t found the correct beginning for my story, but I go with one I think might work. Now a polished manuscript (ms), it circulates amongst a handful of agents. I remove the completed first draft of what will become Chameleon from the deep freeze and begin applying the weight loss regime to it as well. Meanwhile, I write bits of what will become Unfurl and lots of what won’t become a part of anything. I acquire several very polite rejections of my full ms, with requests to submit something else if I have it.
I participate in the conversations on kindleboards after lurking for over a month and begin to consider indie-publishing. More polite and encouraging rejections, more requests for something else if I have it. Barry Eisler walks away from SMP deal, Amanda Hocking signs with SMP. I am realizing my ms doesn’t begin at the right place. Completely befuddled as to how to begin it. I set it aside to age.
I write a sci-fi novel (first draft) and set it aside to age. I hear back from the last agent and last editor who had expressed interest in my ms. (Another appetizing serving of “no, thank you.”) I decide to indie-publish my ms, since it is nearly done–if I could just find that slippery, that elusive . . . beginning. I feel pretty certain there is a market for this story, even if that market isn’t the traditional one. I work with the amazing Claudia at phatpuppyart.com to get a cover for my novel, Ripple.
I buff Ripple ’til it glistens. The novel gets a last minute name change when PW Daily announces a July release of a YA paranormal romance with my title. What??? (My preciousssssss . . . ) Ripple becomes Rippler, going from a nice noun-verb double-entendre to a merely descriptive noun. Le sigh. I get stellar advice from a best-selling YA author who tells me two possible places she would begin my novel if she were writing it. One of them rings one-hundred per-cent true to me. I write it down in a frenzy. I delete 15,000 words from my lame beginning. I have a book I am proud of! I publish it on Amazon days before my birthday.
I sell a few books! I get several reviews! From people I’ve never met! It’s amazing! I worry that having four 5-star reviews will make it look like I asked friends to review my book. (Something I asked them to please not do.) Then I get a 2-star review and a 4-star review. I feel legitimized. I write, write, write the second-in-series.
I write, write, write number two clear to the end and set it aside to age. I go back to the sci-fi novel and polish it. I check my sales far more often than is strictly rational. The numbers creep forward slowly, and more reviews start coming in. Every time a 5-star comes in, it is followed by a 4-star. Every time. *Is amused*
I polish the second-in-series, realizing it will be better than its older sibling! The story arc progresses more naturally, and it reads a bit like a thriller. *Is thrilled*
I put Chameleon, the second-in-series for sale days before I embark upon a cruise across the Atlantic celebrating a big anniversary with my BFF/DH. We talk about book three, but I Do. No. Writing. For. Two. Weeks. Chameleon sells moderately well, and sales are up for Rippler as well. I outline book three once we reach home.
I write like a woman possessed. 2,500-3,500 words per day. I’m determined to get book three out by Christmas. A women’s book group hosts me; they discuss my book and ask me questions. It is more fun than riding Pirates of the Caribbean.
Still possessed. A polished draft is completed. Beginning of work with editor who tells me what scenes go where. (Several were completely backwards! Imagine that!) I have an author event at Vanilla Jill’s in Eugene, Oregon. I sign books, do readings, and answer questions. It is more fun than Toy Story Mania!
Edits, edits, edits. Followed by copy-edits, copy-edits, copy-edits. Trailed by beta-reader responses. Chased by publication around 11:00PM on the 25th. I met my goal! Plus, 2400 downloads of Rippler when I set it free as a Christmas thank you. Wow. That’s a lot of downloads. I sell hundreds over the following days, doubling my sales of the first seven months. All those new Kindles require feeding, apparently.
There you have it, my pets! Anyone still awake?